Babcock admits he ‘absolutely’ made mistakes during Leafs tenure

Babcock admits he 'absolutely' made mistakes during Leafs tenure

Columbus Blue Jackets head coach Mike Babcock conceded he was far from perfect during his time with the Toronto Maple Leafs, which ended in a messy split in the fall of 2019.

“Do I like how I was talked about after I left? No,” Babcock told Sportsnet 590. “Do I think I did anything wrong? Absolutely.”

After being fired by the Leafs early in the fifth season of an eight-year agreement, Babcock was the subject of severe scrutiny for asking then-rookie Mitch Marner to rank the club’s hardest-working players. The veteran coach then shared the winger’s list with the rest of the team.

Babcock was out of the NHL until his contract with the Leafs expired July 1. Columbus officially hired him that day, and the 60-year-old is adamant he’s learned from prior transgressions.

“Well, first thing I would say to you is I answer these questions over and over again,” he said. “And I’m happy to do that in saying that I got nothing to hide. I’m not trying to hide from anything I’ve ever done. I think it’s important you own any mistake you’ve made, and you try to get better.”

On top of the situation with Marner, Babcock caught flak from a pair of players he coached with the Detroit Red Wings. Johan Franzen called his old coach a “bully” and the “worst person I have ever met.” Hall of Fame defenseman Chris Chelios said Babcock “verbally assaulted” Franzen to the point of a nervous breakdown during the 2012 postseason.

Blue Jackets star Zach Werenski recently said Babcock’s past isn’t a concern for the team going forward. Columbus missed out on the playoffs each of the past three seasons.

Babcock has 700 NHL wins across an 18-year career. He’s the only head coach in the Triple Gold Club, which requires a Stanley Cup, Olympic gold, and world championship gold.

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